A asteroid potentially dangerous has been successfully deflected from its orbit thanks to a providential probe. It is not the plot of a sci-fi film with an unpredictable ending, but authentic reality as told by the American space agency in the last few hours NASA this is back to talk about the DART mission.
The acronym just mentioned indicates this Double Asteroid Redirection Test, a project that scientists have studied in detail to understand how it was possible to avoid collisions with meteorites or other celestial objects in the years to come. Is our planet really in danger? There is no sure answer, but if in doubt, the mission is complete.
The asteroid mentioned is called Dimorphos and NASA has officially announced that it has significantly changed its space travel. The probe used was the last to hit the object 09/27, 11 million kilometers from Earth to be precise. Results of a certain kind were expected, but those obtained in practice were even higher than expected. “Galactic Defense” is at the heart of the DART mission, should any future threat threaten from the skies, such as an asteroid or other object crashing into Earth, you won’t be caught off guard. It’s not the first time we’ve talked about the so-called “diversion technique” As for the most endangered meteorites, now with this test it has been established that it really works and that our planet is safe.
An asteroid to keep under control
To be even more specific, the asteroid we are talking about deserves further investigation. First of all, its maximum width was approximately calculated 160 meters, without forgetting the orbit. Dimorphos was actually orbiting another larger celestial object known as Didymos, measuring almost 800 meters in diameter. DART, on the other hand, had a total mass of over half a ton and a cubic shape specifically designed to make life difficult for the stray asteroid. How was it ensured that the route was actually diverted? It was enough for the experts to compare the times a full tour of Dimorphos around Didymos.
The new orbit of the asteroid
The latest surveys show that this journey was previously completed in 11 hours and 55 minutes, i.e. half an earth day 11 hours and 23 minutes. It’s over half an hour, perhaps a time that many may consider “negligible” but very important. In fact, after colliding with the DART mission’s probe, the most famous asteroid of 2022 did nothing but approach the largest object. a few tens of meters particularly. All this means that the orbit has changed significantly and our planet can breathe a sigh of relief.
In reality, NASA was quite “succinct” with its goals, so one would think it would have settled for much more modest results. The minimum time variation to be met was from at least 73 seconds, so it went far beyond the rosiest expectations. In percentage terms, the change in the asteroid’s orbit 11 million kilometers from our heads was 4%, a small nudge that could be enough to keep other ‘busier’ celestial bodies in check in the future. Hopefully it doesn’t need to serve in the future, but if it does, Earth will be better prepared than ever to face the threat.
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